Theological veto

The theological veto[1] is the concept in philosophy of religion that philosophy and logic are impious and that God, not reason, is sovereign. This concept is held as true by some theists especially religious fundamentalists. The idea is derived from a belief that mankind is depraved, and his intellect is a flawed product of this fallenness. In this view conversion, not reason, is the way to the truth; preaching, not argument is the way to persuade; and grace, not evidence is the way belief is confirmed. Also, in this view, natural reason is so profoundly hostile to the divine that holding it above faith is tantamount to worshiping a sinful creature as an idol.

An early use of the phrase is reported from a 1925 critique of opponents of evolution: "They meet the accumulating evidences of the descent of man with a theological veto. They set the limit to science by the quotation of a verse from the creation legend "Genesis.""[2]

Even the use of reason on behalf of faith is rejected under the theological veto, as it shows faithlessness. It presupposes by practice that faith can be benefited by reason.

The theological veto is logically irrefutable, in the same way that there can be no game winner without entering into some kind of game.

Rejecting the theological veto

There are several reasons put forth by those who reject the theological veto.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Frederick Ferré, Basic Modern Philosophy of Religion
  2. American Ethical Union, The Ethical Outlook, Volume 12, 1925, page 67.
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